Saving lives everyday
The St Vincent de Paul Society of Australia is working to shape a more just and compassionate society. We do this by standing in solidarity with people who are living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage.
Just prior to the 2017-2018 Budget, John Falzon CEO of Vinnies National Council and Cassandra Goldie CEO of ACOSS conducted this interview on the urgent need to increase the Newstart Allowance with radio 2GB.
What Vinnies does
Unemployment and underemployment
We believe that empowering people, not blaming them, is the answer to combating the poverty that affects one in eight Australians. Vinnies assists people who are unemployed or underemployed by conducting home visits, and providing company and assistance with food and utility bills. But it saddens us to see people living on the Newstart Allowance forced into poverty rather than helped back in to the workforce.
There are around 1.5 million unemployed and underemployed people competing for 150,000 job vacancies. Neither Work-for-the-Dole nor absurd levels of compliance and cruelty will address labour market conditions, especially in geographic areas of high unemployment.
Vinnies calls on the Government to implement a Jobs Plan to cut poverty, and address the structural drivers of unemployment and improve the pathways to employment through training. A Jobs Plan that includes an immediate increase in the Newstart Allowance payment by a minimum of $50 a week and the appropriate indexation of payment rates would help people into work rather than forcing them to live in poverty. Read our submissions to government inquiries on the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia and on the Review of Australia’s Welfare System. In response to welfare recipients losing up to $8.80 a week a fortnight, owing to a 2016 budget decision to remove a supplement originally introduced in 2013 as carbon tax compensation for people on the Newstart allowance, pensions and family payments, we issued this media statement on 22 August 2016.
- Cost of Living
Recognising people’s need to be heard is critical to the success of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia. We pride ourselves on providing a hand up, not a hand out. This involves really listening to the people who have been pushed to the margins of our society and who are struggling with the rising cost of living. Again, Vinnies provides emergency relief in the short term and financial counselling for people, but we maintain the problems lies in greater structural issues such as changes in the energy market and the way of the cost of living is measured. Vinnies has campaigned for the Cost of Living Index to be measured against the Relative Price Index opposed to the Consumer Price Index, which we believe is not an accurate representation of inflation. Cost of living pressures would also be eased if access to public housing was increased, the issue of housing affordability addressed and the Rent Assistance payment increased to enable people to remain in the private rental market.
Find out more about Vinnies research work into energy prices and relative price index.
- Related issues
Pay day lending: Vinnies has campaigned for reforms to the pay day lending sector that would protect the most financially vulnerable in our society from onerous debt repayment requirements. Exploitative business practices can in many instances send financially vulnerable people into a perilous debt spiral from which they never recover.
- Read Paul's story of surviving poverty or these personal accounts of people experiencing severe cost of living pressures.
- Donate or volunteer your time at a Vinnies shop or donate funds to our accommodation and support services around Australia.
- Submission on the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2017 Nov 2017
- Submission on Social Services Legislation Amendment (Payment Integrity) Bill 2017 Aug 2017
- Submission on Social Services Legislation Amendment (Better Targeting Student Payments) Bill 2017. Aug 2017
- Submission Ending the Carbon Tax Compensation Bill 2017 July 2017
- Submission on Financial Wellbeing Capability services April 2017
- Submission on the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill 2017 March 2017
- 2017-18 Pre-Budget Submission February 2017
- Submission on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Budget Repair) Bill 2016, September 2016
- Anti-poverty week 2016 activities
- Opinion piece by Dr John Falzon Waiting for the wealth to trickle down. June 23, 2016
- Opinion piece by Dr John Falzon Our youth needs a job plan, not a rip-off. May 17, 2016
- Submission on strengthening job seeker compliance November 26 2014
- Submission on the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia August 22 2014
- Submission to the Review of Australia’s Welfare System August 12 2014
- Submission to the inquiry on stonger penalities July 23 2014
- 2014-15 Federal Budget Submissions May 2014
- Concerns about the Commission of Audit January 2014
- Submission on Supporting More Australians into work June 12 2013
- Submission on Tackling Job Insecurity Bill 2012 February 1 2013
- Submission on Fair Incentives to Work Bill 2012 July 26 2012
- Response to questions at Fair Incentives to Work Inquiry June 25 2012
- Letter seeking an inquiry into sole parents legislation June 15 2012
- Submission to the Independent Inquiry on Insecure Work January 20 2012